“Mirror, mirror, on the wall… Who’s the fairest of them all?”

If you ask this question, and repeat constantly in your mind, “I am, I am, I am”, will that make you ready to walk down the catwalk as a supermodel? If you are struggling to make ends meet and are strapped for cash, will thinking “I’m rich, I’m rich, I’m rich”, suddenly make a few million dollars materialise in your bank account?

As much as the notion of positive thinking has developed into a worldwide self-help trend, unfortunately, the reality of life and its inherent dualities simply cannot be ‘thought’ away through positive thinking. If you shut out the reality that you are not quite supermodel material, or that you are not next in line for the latest addition to the world’s rich list, then essentially all that positive thinking is, in fact, negative thinking. And that, my friends, could do you more harm that good.

Let me explain.

There is such a thing as the dualities of life. I’ve spoken about these dualities in one of my previous Gems (Maybe, Maybe Not. 28 January 2009) and tried to impart the importance of not being influenced by the ‘ups and downs’ of life. Because no matter what we desire or what we want, who are we to know when something happens to us is ‘bad’ or ‘good’. There is no escaping the fact that everything has its opposite. And what we may think of as ‘bad’, could in fact be setting us up for something ‘good’. The point is, we can not allow our moods and attitudes to be pushed around by the natural dualities of life.

Opposites are everywhere, they will always exist, and each opposite is vital to us. Night and Day. Light and Dark. Rich and Poor. Good and Bad. Without heat, there would be no cold. Without pain and suffering, there cannot be happiness. You cannot have a front without a back.

It is the same with positivity; negativity is the opposite of positivity.

So, when you ‘pretend’ that you are rich, you are ignoring the fact that you must first identify the fact that you are poor before you will actually do something constructive to change your reality. In other words, if you want to be rich, the first thing you must admit is that you are poor. Then, you can do something about becoming rich. You must realise the reality first.

This is why I say that real positive thinking means that you have to go beyond positive thinking. You must rise above positivity as well as negativity. A real sage or a real saint is someone who is beyond the push and pull of positivity and negativity. This is transcendental… to transcend the nature of things. This means that when you feel happiness, you should not become elated. And when you are sad, you should not become despondent. Rise above it all, take the good with the bad, and realise you can’t have one without the other.

Let’s all face up to reality and go beyond positive thinking. Let’s think beyond positive and negative and look at the real thing: Duality and the need for both sides of the coin. Real contentment can only be found within. Before we ask the mirror “who is the fairest of them all?”, we should already know the answer and what we are going to do about it.

Yours sincerely,

Joseph Bismark
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd